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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

16 March 2024 Venue Wham Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Accrington 2-2 Notts

O'Brien and Jatta score in draw

16 March 2024

Alassana Jatta marked his first start for the club with a goal and an assist – but it wasn’t enough to earn us victory at the Wham Stadium.

The January signing laid the ball off for Jim O’Brien to open the scoring four minutes in, before seeing Shaun Whalley level things up.

Jatta then put us back in front with a close-range finish which looked set to prove decisive until Jack Nolan’s penalty drew the hosts level once again.

Stuart Maynard made three changes to the side that were beaten at Crawley Town in midweek.

Two of them were forced as Scott Robertson, who saw red in Sussex, served his one-match suspension, while Adam Chicksen had to withdraw from the squad late on through injury.

The other was precautionary as Dan Crowley dropped to the bench with a mild illness, a decision which paved the way for Jatta to make his first start as Macaulay Langstaff dropped deeper alongside our midweek goalscorer Sam Austin.

Sam Slocombe continued in goal, with Aden Baldwin returning from a dead leg to play in the middle of a back three flanked by Kyle Cameron and Lewis Macari.

O’Brien continued at the base of midfield, with fit-again John Bostock alongside him and Jodi Jones and Aaron Nemane down the flanks.

Chicksen’s late drop-out meant Maynard was forced to name goalkeepers Luca Ashby-Hammond and Aidan Stone on the bench alongside returning defender Jaden Warner, wide men Will Randall and Tobi Adebayo and midfielders Charlie Colkett and Crowley.

We had the dream start as, on four minutes, Jones twisted on to his right foot in the box before finding Jatta with his cross. The forward showed good awareness to lay the ball off for O’Brien, who found the bottom corner with his finish.

The Gambian was involved again in the game’s next big moment as he was picked out by Langstaff in the area before working space for a shot on his right. Off-balance, he could only bobble his shot wide.

A warning shot was fired by Korede Adedoyin shortly afterwards as he nodded a header over – and it was the same man’s flick on that led to Stanley pulling themselves level as Whalley pounced on the loose ball and fired it into the roof of Slocombe’s net from close range.

We continued to look the better side, though, and created two half-chances for Langstaff in pursuit of our second goal – the number nine heading Cameron’s cross over before, moments later, he was crowded out by defenders in the area after receiving the ball from Jones.

Our pressure continued with Nemane cutting in from the right and drawing a strong low save from Radek Vitek and Jones moving infield from the left before seeing a shot blocked shortly afterwards.

We were getting into plenty of promising positions but, after a speculative Langstaff effort had failed to trouble Vitek, it looked like we would have to settle for stalemate at the break.

But we refused to settle for that as, on the stroke of half-time, O’Brien’s looping cross was only cleared as far as Austin, who guided the bouncing ball goalwards from the edge of the area via a defender’s deflection. Vitek managed to adjust his body to keep the ball out but was left helpless to prevent Jatta turning home the rebound six yards out.

Our hard work to get back on top was nearly undone within a minute of the restart as the hosts pounced on a loose ball and crossed for Whalley, who missed a good headed opportunity at the back post.

Austin produced our response, turning brilliantly in midfield and scampering away from several defenders before seeing his stabbed effort at goal saved by Vitek.

Jatta made way for Crowley shortly afterwards and his attacking midfield partner, Austin, conjured our next chance of the game by rolling the ball to Jones, who had time to compose himself for the shot inside the area but couldn’t keep it down.

It hadn’t been Jones’ most effective performance of the season and he made way for Warner on 74 minutes, with Austin taking his place at wing back.

But, five minutes later, we found ourselves level once again as Cameron was adjudged to have handled a cross from the left inside the area, allowing Nolan to score from the spot despite Slocombe’s best efforts.

Colkett replaced Bostock as full-time neared and the midfielder nearly made a hero’s cameo as his shot from the edge of the area looked destined for the bottom corner, only for Vitek to make a stunning save with his foot to somehow divert the ball over the bar.

We continued to push for a winner and, after heading a Macari cross over, Langstaff outmuscled a defender and saw a shot go wide – seemingly off a defender, despite the referee awarding the goal kick.

And, after an Accrington man was booked for diving in the area, the referee called time.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin, Macari; Jones (Warner 74'), Nemane; Bostock (Colkett 87'), O'Brien; Austin, Langstaff; Jatta (Crowley 56')

SUBS: Ashby-Hammond, Stone, Randall, Adebayo

BOOKINGS: Baldwin 70'

ATTENDANCE: 2,499 (635)

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